economics, government, health & fitness, things getting better

Who invented the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine?

Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, a married couple, are both now billionaires. 

Financial Times People of the Year for 2020.

In 2008 Özlem co-founded the biotechnology company BioNTech, which in 2020 developed the first messenger RNA-based vaccine approved for use against COVID-19.

How many lives have been saved by their vaccine? 

How much illness reduced?

They first heard of Covid on January 8th, 2020. And instantly switched from the Cancer therapy they had been researching for two decades — to Covid. 

By March 2020, they had five vaccine candidates ready to test in humans, and by November 2020, results indicated that the vaccine was more than 90% effective.

mRNA could be used for future vaccines even more quickly next time. BUT we should build manufacturing capacity NOW to be ready for the next one. 

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube


The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell

Very skillfully constructed.

Sophie is a mystery writer (like Jewell) who reluctantly moves to the country because her husband took a new job.

She finds a sign nailed to a nearby fence with an arrow and the words “Dig Here”.

She does. And it begins to unravel the mystery of a young couple that disappeared a year earlier.

Flashbacks take us back.

I would say the book could have been shorter. Jewell would be better with a more ruthless editor.

Still. Recommended.

cycling, travel

1st BIKEPACKING trip on my new Checkpoint

In 2020 I enjoyed 14 multi-day trips on my Ghost. The 15th in November … I didn’t enjoy quite so much.

In 2021 this is only my 2nd multi-day cycling adventure. About 90km return. Overnight camping on Horne Lake. 22 hours total.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse on YouTube. A peaceful, windless September night.

My first overnight TEST of the Checkpoint ALR 4  with full load. Mixed trail, highway and gravel.

Checkpoint passed with flying colours.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

cycling, video

Re-editing my OLD Videos

My main HOBBY during pandemic has been video editing.

When I go back to watch some of my old edits, I’m usually unhappy 😕 with some decisions I made at the time.

A couple of times I’ve gone back and improved them. Satisfying. 🙂

For example, I was quite happy with some parts of my 2021 video cycling around Parksville. But a few things BUGGED me.

It didn’t take long to make the changes. Here’s the NEW shorter version. I posted it on a different YouTube channel to avoid later confusion.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Loki – season 1

I’m no particular fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

BUT I do like Tom Hiddleston. And I do like Owen Wilson, though he’s only capable of playing Owen Wilson.

First 5 of 6 episodes of season 1 are entertaining. The visuals and special effects well done.

The best super hero movies make fun of super hero movies. Self-parody. I’d say that’s true with this TV series too.

There’s a female version of Loki called “Sylvie”. That storyline didn’t work for me.

Also … the ending. Is that the best they could do?

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, philosophy

The Way Home by Mark Boyle

GREAT book. Excellent and entertaining writing.

The audio book is even better, by my favourite reader Gerald Doyle.

Mark did not touch cash for over 3 years, writing about his experience in The Moneyless Man.

Later, he tried living with as little modern technology as possible.

It was 11pm when I checked my email for the last time and turned off my phone for what I hoped would be forever.

No running water, no car, no electricity or any of the things it powers: the internet, phone, washing machine, radio or light bulb. Just a wooden cabin, on a smallholding, by the edge of a stand of spruce.

In this honest and lyrical account of a remarkable life without modern technology, Mark Boyle explores the hard won joys of building a home with his bare hands, learning to make fire, collecting water from the spring, foraging and fishing.

What he finds is an elemental life, one governed by the rhythms of the sun and seasons, where life and death dance in a primal landscape of blood, wood, muck, water, and fire – much the same life we have lived for most of our time on earth. Revisiting it brings a deep insight into what it means to be human at a time when the boundaries between man and machine are blurring.


Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


The Hit by David Baldacci

Book 2 in the Will Robie series.

Baldacci is not nearly my favourite author. BUT this book really kept me interested from start to finish.

A highly skilled assassin, Robie is the man the U.S. government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst–enemies of the state …

No one else can match Robie’s talents as a hitman…no one, except Jessica Reel. A fellow assassin, equally professional and dangerous, Reel is every bit as lethal as Robie. And now, she’s gone rogue, turning her gun sights on other members of their agency.

To stop one of their own, the government looks again to Will Robie. His mission: bring in Reel, dead or alive. Only a killer can catch another killer, they tell him. …

cycling, hiking, travel

My NEW Touring Bicycle

Due to the pandemic, it’s very difficult to TEST RIDE bikes. Shops simply don’t have much inventory.

I knew that the Trek Checkpoint line were often included in lists of top Gravel Bikes for All Terrain.

I was looking for something more rugged and with more carrying capacity than my otherwise excellent Ghost.

I ended up with the Checkpoint ALR 4 … mainly because I lucked into finding one in stock at West Point Cycles in Vancouver. Still — it took over 4 months to get the accessories I wanted.

This bike is Aluminum, not steel, so it’s relatively light at 10.26 kg / 22.62 lbs. Carbon fork.

It’s got a ton of attachments. I special ordered the deluxe BONTRAGER racks front and back. I’ll load up with 4 full size panniers for longer trips.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I bought an inexpensive (CAD $43) 25 litre rear top pannier bag for those trips I want even MORE capacity.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I upgraded the tires to BONTAGER HARD-CASE editions. That should mean fewer flats.

I’ve put an AirTag on it so can locate the bike with the FindMy app.

Internal cables are tidier.

I now have the option to use drop bar grips — but I normally prefer flat bars. Happily, I can switch between several handlebar positions on this rig.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I put a quad lock for my phone central on the Blendr Stem.

As for pedals …

Once in a while I’ll take off the saddlebags and use it like a mountain bike.

Click PLAY or see it action on YouTube.

What is the Rule of 430?

… a formula that demonstrates replacing about 430 driving miles with 430 riding miles can offset the carbon cost of your new bike. Anything above 430 miles, and your bike is now carbon-negative.

Future BIG bikepacking trips I’m considering include: